How to start with Smart Home #2 – Smart lighting

How to start with Smart Home #2 – Smart lighting

In the first part of the series How to live smart #1 you learned what the notion smart home means and how we as a society got o this phenomenon 

Do you want to find out what benefits can smart home bring to your everyday life? Then you’re on the right address. This article represents the beginning of a guide/handbook, how to enter the world of smart home. Naturally, it is only one of many perspectives on this topic and that’s why I recommend everyone to spend a bit of time to research what the market offers. I think, that the concept of intelligent lighting is known even to a total lay person Since we’re talking about my personal experience, in this article I will focus on smart bulbs themselves and how I began to transform my home with them to a smart one.  

#how to get a smart bulb 

The most common and currently accessible brand of intelligient bulbs is the well-know Philips Hue. The brand is exactly not only smart bulbs, but a whole system of smart lighting. It functions on a quite simple principle. In your starter package, you will find the bulbs, a remote control and also a very important piece - the Hue Bridge. It is truly a „bridge“, which connects to your Wi-Fi router and allows the bulb to operate. The reason it’s so important is the fact, that communication between bulbs and e.g. your smartphone doesn’t happen via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but via a communication protocol called ZigBee. To explain, your smartphone connects to the bridge via Wi-Fi which then controls the bulbs via ZigBee. It has a long range, but low speed, which means it’s ideal to operate networks for devices like bulbs, power outlets, light sensors, windows sensors etc.

In order to get started, you do not really need anything else besides the bulbs, the bridge and your smartphone. After connecting your bridge and its initial configuration, you only need to download the Philips Hue app and change the old bulbs for new, smart ones. Then we just follow the guide – which takes us through a firmware update, introduces the user interface of the Hue app and finally lets us pair a remote control with a specific bulb. 

#what makes a bulb smart? 

So what then makes this system, i.e. lighting smart? There are many answers, however based on my experience, I would group them into the following categories, which I’ll explain: 

Lighting with a Hue bulb is no longer analogue (i.e. on vs. off state)
The intelligent bulb can achieve quite a lot – change its temperature, intensity and in some cases even color. The Switch itself for each lighting fixture remains in the „on“ state. 

We can control the lighting from anywhere
Exactly as you’re reading – it does not matter where you are. Through Philips‘ cloud, you can control your lighting, all you need is an internet connection. This may come useful for example in cases when you forget to turn off the light after leaving your home. 

Teach your lighting „habits“ or make it dependant on other actions od iného javu
What’s worth noting in this category is the function of the so-called sunrise and sundown. You can adjust the lighting in order to gradually turn-on/off the light at a particular time (e.g. 6AM) and therefore simulate the sun’s behaviour. Definitely helpful for people who simply can’t get out of bed during winter. 

How would you image using smart lighting? Let us know in the comments below. 

In the next part of our smart home series of articles, we’ll look into the world of personal assistants such as Alexa, Google Home or Siri. 

How to live Smart #1

How to live Smart #1

We at Fpt Slovakia have been working in the area of smart home for several years. Now we have decided to present it from a different angle. Tomáš has prepared a series, in which he will be continuously introducing the secrets of an intelligent household to you. You will learn what smart means and we will also include the term Internet of Things and tell you where and how to start with solutions for an efficient home.

#introduction

Surely many of you remember, or even still use landlines. At a time when almost every household had them, they were an inseparable friend. They connected us with the outside world, with family, acquaintances, authorities, customers. They carried out their mission bravely. We were able to hear and speak to the person on the other side of the line. And nothing more (Unless I also include playing Crash Bandicoot inMaxihra). 

If this fact is still not limiting enough for you, then may I remind you that during the phone call, we could not perform any other activity. Mainly due to the length of the cable and the need to hold the phone next to your ear. Later, with the arrival of dial-up up internet, we couldn't even make phone calls and surf the web at the same time!

With the arrival of mobile phones (although the first ones could even be used as a tool for self-defense), we added a new dimension to telephoning. We didn't have to be in one place on a given time and we could be reached everywhere provided that there was a mobile signal. However, the mobile phone continued to perform mainly its primary function, telephoning.  

#smart_phones

Nevertheless, we were not unhappy for very long, because with the arrival of the internet, the so-called smartphonesstarted to appear. Thanks to the possibility of connecting to the internet, they have opened the door for us to do everything that the phone actually "does not serve" 😊. We can read the news, check the weather forecast, share photos with friends and not to mention a million other things. 

#smart_home

It is important to realize that with the arrival of smartphones, we suddenly held the first piece of our smart home. That is, until the moment we realize that we will not actually do much smart at home with this clever piece of aluminum, plastic and glass. However, the concept is clear. We have a device that opens the door to possibilities by connecting to the internet. So why not do it with a refrigerator, for example?

#internet of_things

And so, after three lengthy paragraphs, we get to the heart of the matter, a smart home. By deducing from the example of the telephone, it is already clear to us that by adding an internet connection to a device, we can use it much better, more diversely and more efficiently. It doesn't matter if it's a washing machine, refrigerator, toaster or rice cooker. In fact, the term partnership home is a subset of the increasingly well-known term Internet of Things. It describes a network of physical devices (things) that, thanks to sensors, software and other technologies, can connect and exchange data with other devices via the internet. 

In 2018, there were an estimated 10 billion "connected devices",connected devices" in the world, i.e. devices connected to the internet. This number is expected to exceed 64 billion in 2025. What devices are involved? These are mainly partnership light bulbs, thermostats, security systems (cameras, various sensors and alarms), and large appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators. Last but not least, assistants also belong to this group. Namely Alexa, Siri or "Hey Google", which in most households connect these devices under one roof in the form of an application such as Apple HomeKit. Interestingly enough, last year these technology giants (Apple, Google, Amazon) formed partnership for a mutual communication of the individual smart home products. 

Smart home, or smart home devices can make our lives a lot easier. Illuminate the corridor with a dim light, but also save money, for example by timing the air conditioning or heating correctly so that energy is not wasted.

#stay_tuned

After such a surge of information, only one question remains - how to start? You’ll find the answer for this question in the next article of this series. 

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